Everyone at some point in life has felt anxious and it can be a very distressing emotion to experience. The most common symptoms of anxiety are: sweaty palms, muscle tension, racing heart, flushed cheeks, light headedness, difficulty breathing and palpitations. However everyone is unique and may have numerous different symptoms in an anxious state.
Despite anxiety being uncomfortable, it is just the body’s response to a perceived threat. When under threat the anxiety response of “fight or flight” kicks in and the body optimises itself to fulfill these actions. Breathing becomes rapid to take in extra oxygen, this creates light-headedness and and an increased heart-rate. As blood rushes round the body to key areas for the fight, our cheeks become flushed and our stomach may stop functioning and feel empty. pupils will dilate, hair may stand on end and our muscles may feel tense. When faced with a 6ft, 250lb man wielding a knife you are likely to appreciate this “optimisation”. However, when the “fight or flight” response kicks in when faced with everyday tasks, making daily life difficult, anxiety can become a problem. Below is a list of the most common anxiety disorders and some of the “threats” commonly associated with them that may cause the anxiety response to react.
Situational/Specific Phobia - spiders, snakes, heights, lifts, clowns, tight spaces, vomit, glitter, flying.
Social Phobia - giving a speech, going out shopping, going for coffee with friends, eating out, going to the cinema.
Health anxiety - irregular body lump, a rise in temperature, someone commenting that you look unwell, a cough.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - an anniversary of when the trauma occurred, a smell also present during the trauma, a place associated with the trauma, a sound associated with the trauma.